Himalayan SnowcockTetraogallus himalayensis

juvenile male, tame bird used in field experiments
James D. Bland/VIREO
Lynx Edicions/VIREO


Native to the Himalayan region of southern Asia, this huge grouse was introduced as a game bird in the Ruby Mountains of northern Nevada beginning in 1963. There it lives on steep and barren slopes above treeline, in remote areas that birders may visit only with a major effort. Small flocks of snowcocks often move uphill during the day, feeding as they go on roots, tubers, and seeds, and then glide down the slopes again in the evening. The nest is a simple scrape on the ground, often sheltered from wind by nearby rocks or grass clumps. Usually 4-6 eggs are laid, buffy to grayish, spotted with reddish brown. Incubation is by the female, about 4 weeks. Young leave the nest shortly after they hatch; they are tended by both parents, but find all their own food.


shrill whistles and songs

Similar Species

adult male

Greater Sage-Grouse

Well-named, this very large grouse is found nowhere except in sagebrush country of the west. It nests on the ground among the sage, and the leaves of this plant are its staple diet in winter. The Sage Grouse is best known for the spectacular courtship displays of the males: Large numbers (up to 70 or more) will gather in spring on traditional dancing grounds and strut with their chests puffed out and spiky tails spread, hoping to attract females.


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